production team Victor and Marina Ledin will answer Naxos.com visitors
in May. As series producers for Naxos American Classics, they
have the inside track on American Music at Naxos.
Submit your enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
or at the bottom of the page!
|Q. Who is your favourite American composer?
I wish I could name just a
single composer, but that would not be possible. If
you look at the composers being released by Naxos,
whether it be
Creston, Piston, Diamond, etc., these are amongst my favourites.
Q. I really
appreciated your performance
with the Hong Kong Philharmonic in January 2004. I am
an adult student learning
piano at the moment. Would you mind answering the following
me? What's the basic requirement to be a
conductor? Where can I learn the skills to be a conductor? What made you want to be a conductor?
-P.Y., Hong Kong
A. The basic
requirement to be
a conductor is a broad music knowledge, leadership qualities and
artistic qualities. The skills you need
to be a conductor you learn through a very deep study of music, and
playing in an orchestra or going to a specialist school to study
conducting. What made me want to be a
conductor was simply my love of making music.
Q. How did you become involved with the
Archive of American Jewish Music? How
many recordings have you made for the archive?
A. I became involved
Milken Archive of American Jewish Music through the invitation of Neil
the archive's Artistic Director. I am not
sure how many recordings I made for the archive, but it is probably
Q. You’re noted as one of the most
advocates for the music of Howard Hanson. I suspect you agree
that one of his most inexplicably neglected works is the opera Merry Mount.
The only recording of it is the Naxos rendition of the
Metropolitan Opera’s radio broadcast of
the world premiere. That recording, of course, dates from the
1930s – and
isn’t available in the United
States. You’ve made a fine
of the Merry Mount Suite. My question is: may we
you’ll eventually record the complete opera?
A. We did a wonderful
performance of Merry Mount and recorded it, as a live recording, and
hope that Naxos will release it one of
Q. I’ve attended several of your
concerts in Liverpool and have been impressed by your
wide-ranging repertoire and the response
of the orchestra to you. I would
be particularly interested to know which large scale Romantic
are particular favourites of yours--and any plans that you can reveal
A. I do have a wide
but I have certainly focused on the music of Richard Strauss and Gustav
here in Liverpool. I have a
tremendous love of the music of
Strauss, including the operas, having just done a run of 'Ariadnes'
Seattle Opera. All I can reveal about
these works is that they strike a very familiar and comfortable chord
soul, probably due to my Viennese-style upbringing.
Q. What is the trickiest thing
about conducting, and what is the most
challenging piece you've conducted?
A. The trickiest thing about
conducting is finding a balance between clarity and expressivity, and
difficult pieces I have probably ever conducted are the Ives '4th
the Elliot Carter 'Double Concerto'.
What makes a conductor a good leader that the
think that one of the primary qualities
that a conductor has to have is artistic integrity. Obviously, general
leadership abilities and a very deep knowledge of music are crucial. Hopefully, musicians will put their trust in
those conductors who help them perform great concerts.